The Super Bowl is easily the biggest sporting and television event in the United States. And, with 100 million viewers tuning in last year, Super Bowl advertising is equally as big of a deal.
Brands spend a ton for that 30 seconds of airtime. This year, those 30-second slots cost an estimated $5.5 million. But if a commercial is done right, that could be $5.5 million well-spent. It’s not just about boosting immediate sales — a memorable Super Bowl ad could help win over longtime customers and build goodwill.
A handful of ads, like iApple’s “1984,” Coca Cola’s “Mean Joe Greene,” and Budweiser’s “Frogs,” managed to keep us talking about them for decades later. It was advertising money well-spent.
On the flip side, a poorly executed or ill-conceived ad could prove detrimental. Anyone remember when Holiday Inn’s “Bob Johnson” ad tried to be edgy? The hotel chain compared itself to a transgender woman at a high school reunion.
I was unaware that a single ad could equally offend both LGBTQ groups and conservative “Middle America” types at the same time.
Advertisers Walking a Fine Line in Front of 100 Million Viewers
Advertisers clearly have to walk a fine line, but this year it might be even more difficult. In just a single disastrous year, we’ve seen a pandemic, an economic crisis, protests for racial justice, and rounded it all off with an attack on the Capitol Building. Brands are going to have to be very careful with their messaging.
Between unintended messages and extremely critical viewers, putting together Super Bowl ads this year was probably akin to walking through a minefield unscathed.
Ads You Can Expect to See
In any case, companies were still ready to dive in. Late last month, CBS already said it was “virtually sold out” of ad inventory. Regardless of long-time advertisers sitting this year out — including Ford, Pepsi, and Budweiser — there are still plenty of advertisers ready to pull out all the stops.
This year, we’ll see more than 20 newcomers fill the extra ad space. TikTok rival Triller, freelance marketplace Fiverr, and online car seller Vroom are expected.
We’ll still see some old favorites. Although Anheuser-Busch isn’t running Budweiser ads, they are still running a Bud Light Seltzer spot. PepsiCo. won’t advertise its biggest brand, but they’re still running ads for Mountain Dew and Frito-Lay products. Other returning brands include M&Ms, Toyota, and more.
Many ads won’t be seen until they air for the first time on Super Bowl Sunday. But there are a few ads that have already been leaked. And that means we can go ahead and watch them!
Bud Light Seltzer Lemonade – “Last Year’s Lemons”
But Light is getting right to the point, with an ad depicting a downpour of literal lemons as a metaphor for 2020.
Cheetos – “It Wasn’t Me”
Real-life married couple Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher have been stuck inside together for too long, and they’re wrangling over a bag of Cheetos — to the tune of Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me.”
GM – “No Way Norway”
Will Ferrell, Awkwafina, and Kenan Thompson are really invested in beating Norway — at least in terms of electric cars. It sounds boring on paper, but its full of Ferrell’s signature humor.
M&M’s – “Come Together”
Apparently, a bag of M&M’s is the perfect apology for mansplaining or subjecting people to a gender reveal party. Oh, and Dan Levy apologizes to M&M characters for eating their friends.
Squarespace – “5 to 9”
Squarespace tapped the legendary Dolly Parton to rewrite the lyrics of her classic “9 to 5,” to pay tribute to those working on their own small businesses from “5 to 9” after they leave their boring office jobs.
Uber Eats – “Shameless Manipulation”
Uber Eats is tapping into nostalgia for their ad, enlisting Wayne’s World actors Mike Myers and Dana Carvey to promote ordering from local restaurants. Wayne and Garth “party on” with Cardi B this time around.